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Power Mobility and Socialization in Preschool: A Case Study of a Child With Cerebral Palsy

Ragonesi, Christina B. BS; Chen, Xi BS; Agrawal, Sunil PhD; Galloway, James Cole PT, PhD

Pediatric Physical Therapy:
doi: 10.1097/PEP.0b013e3181eab240
Research Report

Purpose: Power mobility training for young children and infants appears feasible under controlled conditions. Dynamic, natural environments provide the ultimate test of training. The purpose of this case study was to determine whether it was feasible for Will, a 3-year-old boy with cerebral palsy, to use a power mobility device (UD2) in his preschool classroom and to quantify his classroom mobility and socialization.

Methods: Will, 2 peers (typically developing), and 2 teachers were filmed daily in class during a baseline phase without UD2, followed by a mobility phase with UD2. We coded socialization and mobility measures from video recordings.

Results: Will was more mobile and interactive when driving UD2 than during the baseline phase; however, he remained notably less mobile and interactive than his peers.

Conclusions: The use and assessment of power mobility in a preschool classroom appear feasible. Issues important to maximizing children's use of power mobility for classroom participation are discussed.

In Brief

The authors demonstrate the feasibility of providing power mobility in the classroom for a preschooler with CP. They document socialization when using the powered chair. Issues important to maximizing children's use of power mobility for classroom participation are discussed.

Author Information

Infant Motor Behavior Laboratory, Department of Physical Therapy (Ms Ragonesi and Dr Galloway); Biomechanics and Movement Sciences Program (Ms Ragonesi and Drs Agrawal and Galloway); and Mechanical Systems Laboratory, Department of Mechanical Engineering (Mr Chen and Dr Agrawal), University of Delaware, Newark.

Correspondence: James Cole Galloway, PT, PhD, Department of Physical Therapy, University of Delaware, Newark 19716 (

Grant Support: The study was supported in part by the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health.

This work was completed as part of the PhD work of Christina Ragonesi in the Biomechanics and Movement Sciences graduate program, University of Delaware.

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.